Sunday, July 3, 2016


Yesterday someone posed the following question on the "Celebrating Columbia, Maryland and its Future" Facebook page:

I'm curious as to why Columbia flies no American flags down Little Patuxent for the 4th of July.

Strictly speaking, it wasn't actually a question. But it seemed an innocent enough observation. And at first the responses were positive. "I think that's a great idea" or, "Let's get on this for next year" and, "I'm in!"

Then someone pointed out that Columbia Association wouldn't have jurisdiction over a decision like that, and suggested contacting Howard County Government. This seemed to peeve some respondents who blamed CA for having too many regulations and being too controlling to have the patriotic decency to fly flags for Independence Day. Hearing that this was not even a Columbia Association responsibility did nothing to dissuade them from this point of view.

It may be against association rules. Everything else is!

What a shame hanging American flags on the 4th of July is such an issue for Columbia.

Nah...the streets and signs are not a Columbia controlled thing, it's a HoCo thing. Of course 'back in the old days', Rouse did what he wanted with 'his' town, but it was just him...not a bazillion agencies controlling this and that and the other thing like today.....

As the thread evolved the tone began to shift to a more suspicious, accusatory one. It had gone more from a "let's do this!" to "we want to do this and are being denied our rights!" all in one conversation.

We need to stand up as Columbia pioneers. They can't take that away from us.
Back in the 80s someone or some group put flags by every lamppost on the Fourth of July. It could have been the scouts. But we need to "take our city back".

And another thing. The issue of a Fourth of July Parade came up, more than once.

We used to have parades on the 4th. How about some sense of community?

Columbia has three Independence Day parades: Allview, Longfellow, River Hill. This was, of course, pointed out by multiple people. And still:

One of these years we should try and organize a Columbia parade for an event. We've grown so much as a community that it would be nice to do something to bring back the small hometown feeling.

For heaven's sake, don't let the facts get in the way of your point of view.

Columbia is known for its spectacular celebration of the 4th down at the Lakefront, with food, music, and fireworks. I don't think we are lacking in any wholehearted patriotic spirit of the day. And there are three Fourth of July parades! Pretty impressive, if you ask me.

Also, it's important to note that none of that would be possible without Howard County Government: it's where we live. Columbia may be "who we are" for some, but that doesn't mean we are some sort of self-sufficient island with no need to be a part of the larger world. That sounds more like isolationism to me.

We have many things to celebrate on Monday. I don't think isolation is one of them. If a feeling of "Columbia Exceptionalism" skews our view of how we are connected to our larger community, we just might be missing the point of what the day is all about.

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